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Florida wildlife officials attempt to protect seabirds at Skyway Fishing Pier


Skyway Fishing Pier – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by kesterhu

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Between fishhooks and line entanglements, the Skyway Fishing Pier is the center of where several brown pelicans have sadly died.

Previous cases of red tide wiped out the majority of the food source causing them to head to the pier for food, but because of its layout, it can be risky to rescue them if they become tangled.

Now, Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are suggesting a new set of fishing rules that could end up making a large impact on seabirds, specifically the brown pelican population that utilizes the area for fish hunting.

The goal is to lessen the number of birds that entangle themselves in the fishing line on Skyway Pier.

In order to address seabird entanglement and harm, FWC will hold a virtual workshop Monday at 6 p.m. to gather public feedback on potential new fishing regulations for Skyway Fishing Pier.

The pier presents particular difficulties due to its proximity to nesting places.

“They’re leaving the nests. They’re learning what to do. They’re inexperienced, and if the numbers we’ve been getting continue, we’re literally decimating the brown pelican population in the Tampa Bay area,” said Kim Begay of Friends of the Pelicans.

Here are the potential changes the FWC is considering on the Skyway Pier:

  • Prohibiting multiple hooks, such as Treble hooks
  • Prohibiting gear with more than one hook, such as Sabiki rigs
  • Limiting anglers to three sets of hook and line gear per person.

Environmental organizations point out that there are a lot of factors that contribute to seabird mortality in the region, but fishing line entanglement is the main cause.

Click the link below to join the virtual FWC workshop: 

myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/rulemaking/workshops.

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